Saturday, July 31, 2010

Peroxide In Permanent Boxed Hair Dye

Well, okay, AutumnLeaves, I guess I'll accept "lots of hair" as something good about your hair. You also asked me a really good question about when and how the damage that I talk about my hair having, actually occurred. Did it occur when I dyed it brown, or when I dyed it back to blonde a year later? Well, the answer is both.

When I started my long hair journey, my hair was about 2 inches or so shorter than it is right now. I had just stopped using heat products on my hair, but my hair was already somewhat damaged from using them. If I knew then what I know now, I would have concentrated on a growing/trimming plan that would have had me gaining length, while getting rid of damage.

However, back then, I just wanted length, and I didn't even want a trim.  I wanted every bit of growth I had to show.  After a year, I was at about waist length, and my ends were pathetically thin from breakage, but not as bad as some hair I've seen.  Nevertheless, I wouldn't allow my hair to get into that state with the knowledge that I have today.

I really did have to learn my lesson about quality over quantity.

I got a very quick lesson when I got a bee in my bonnet about dyeing my hair medium brown. I don't to this day know why I just had to do it, but I really wanted to see what it felt like to have brown hair. For some reason,  put aside my age and the resulting changing skin tone, and the fact that my roots were almost snow white. If I had really thought about all of that I wouldn't have dyed it, but sometimes a gal just has to try something new, and an army can't stop her (me).

The medium brown hair dye did damage my hair. Worse was the fact that I had to dye it a second time, because the colour didn't take evenly throughout my hair. So I dyed with medium brown over all of my hair not once but twice. Remembering that the last several inches of my hair had already been dyed blonde to cover my grey, and had been regularly heat-styled, you will realize that my hair was already fragile, and in no condition to use a full head dye even once, never mind twice.

I know that when we think about peroxide in permanent box dye that we purchase in the drugstore or grocery store, we often think of the peroxide being only in blonde colours.  We know that ammonia is in all permanent drugstore dyes, however, often we forget that peroxide is in all such dye whether light blonde or jet black.

Don't forget that regular permanent box dye only will lighten hair by about 2 shades.  If your hair is naturally black, you will be able to go to medium brown with box dye, if dark blonde naturally, you could go to light blonde from dark blonde. In my case I'm adding colour to hair that predominantly has none.  To do that, peroxide and ammonia are also necessary.

Peroxide does lighten hair, but it also opens the cuticle of the hair shaft so that the dye can be deposited.  Hence, the permanence of the dye.

So yes, even black permanent dye does contain peroxide.  That's why people who have greys will not get any sort of lasting coverage from products that do not contain peroxide and/or ammonia.

There I was, almost at waist length, a year into my long hair journey. After dyeing twice with the medium brown, my hair felt like straw, almost as though it had been bleached.  It wouldn't have been so bad if my hair was already in tip-top condition, but as I said before, it had already been previously dyed and heat treated.

I cut 6 inches off my hair at that time. I definitely cut out the worst of the damage, and that's when I started my plan of growing but cutting off 1/2 inch quarterly.

It didn't take me long though, to realize that I was fooling myself by thinking that the brown hair looked anything like natural on me, and I had to touch up my roots so often that it wasn't even funny.

However, I knew that if I lightened it back to blonde, I would inflict severe damage on my hair. That kept me dying it brown for close to another year. My hair was looking good though with my new trimming plan and the new hair care that I had discovered.

There I was though, two years into my long hair journey, closer to waist than to BSL, and I knew that I absolutely had to get rid of the brown.  It was not flattering to my face, it required constant touch-ups, and most importantly, it just wasn't me.

I did the best I could do with honey lightening, over the course of a couple of months, but there was only so much I could do to lighten my hair. When it was finally light enough that I was comfortable with trying to dye it blonde again, I could not achieve the blonde I wanted right away. There was too much orange in my hair, causing a brassiness. I can't believe I did it and still had any hair left, but I had to lighten my hair two more times in order to get my old blonde shade back.

Needless to say, my hair was damaged yet again, only much worse than before.  Now I had breakage as well.  I had to cut off another six inches, and then again 3 years into my long hair journey; a year ago, I cut off yet another six inches. With all of the trims I've had in between, I've just about cut off as much hair as I've grown in the past four years.

All of that major dyeing took place before I learned that coconut oil could help to lessen peroxide damage.  For almost two years, I have been using coconut oil on the length of my hair before touching up my roots, and I am convinced that it does help reduce damage. However, I must say that just because it seems to work for me does not mean it will work for anyone else who reads this, but I will add that if you're going to colour your hair anyway, a pre-oiling with coconut oil certainly can't hurt, unless you're allergic to coconut oil.

As I've said before, there will be no more six inch chops in my future. I'm only trimming off about a quarter of my growth every three months, which still gives me six inches of growth per year.

So that's the full story on my damage, and a reminder that all permanent box dyes have peroxide.

Well, my hair did indeed enjoy the deep treatment yesterday, and I hope to be back tomorrow with my progress report for August.

Love to all.

Friday, July 30, 2010

July Is Almost Over!

It sounds so cliche, but I wonder where the time has gone. Honestly, it seems like only a month ago to me that we were eagerly anticipating Spring, and now the summer is almost half over.  Incredible!

Today, my hair is in desperate need of a deep moisture treatment, so as soon as I finish writing this, I'll be clarifying my hair and then using a deep treatment of cone-free conditioner and honey. I don't know if I have it in me to let it soak for an hour, but I really ought to.

Well, this weekend will be update time for my hair length photos. While I do take photos monthly, on my website I only post quarterly updates. There really won't be much difference in length from May, since I trimmed the 2 inches off of the V-shape. While the sides remained untouched, the length in the middle will be much the same as it was in May. I may have to do a 6 month comparison of February to August, but even that won't show too stunning a difference.

I take comfort in knowing though, that I'm getting closer and closer to removing all of the damage from my hair, and also, I'm happier without the deep V hemline that I had.

I read your comment, Aamba, that you were able to do the Gibson Tuck. I know that you were concerned that you didn't have the length, so I'm delighted to hear that you discovered you can do that style. You may be able to do a French Twist as well.

AutumnLeaves, I challenge you to tell me one nice thing about your hair. Please, please, please, and pretty please.  :D

Okay, I'm off now to give my hair a treat. Have a great weekend, everyone!

See y'all tomorrow. Love to all.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Video How-To: Gibson Tuck

The Gibson Tuck is a great protective updo, but it gets harder to do the using the usual instructions after hair gets much longer than shoulder length. This video gives step by step instructions on how to do the Gibson Tuck for longer hair.  

I hope that this video is of help to some of you.

'Til tomorrow, my friends.  Love to all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To Bend Like A Reed In The Wind...

One learns nothing when blogging if not to be prepared to be adaptable to the unexpected. For me, that's been a very good lesson. I have never been good at rolling with change.

Today I was planning on making a video, but there is a wicked thunderstorm right on top of us, so there isn't enough natural light in the house to make a decent video.

Even the topic of the video that I'm planning relates to adapting to change. In a previous entry, I did a photo tutorial with instructions to do the Gibson Tuck. My hair has grown just long enough that I can no longer use the method in my instructions to do a Gibson Tuck. The hair pokes out now or shows through the pocket, so I've had to come up with a new way to do it. In any case, I'll be doing that video as soon as possible this week, but I do find it interesting that the theme of the day for me seems to be learning to be flexible, and changing along with life's events.

It's so interesting to me how just a month can make a difference in how to handle my hair. Some hairstyles I outgrow or I have to come up with a new way to do it, and some I can suddenly do, when I couldn't do it last month.

I was also thinking today about how some people get really bent out of shape over their "halo hairs".  We all have them. As we shed hairs in our natural cycle new hairs grow in, so we always have shorter hairs around out head and whether we wear our hair down, or in an updo, they show on most of us.

Personally, I like the stray hairs that pop out of an updo. There's something so old fashioned to me about having to have every hair in place. It reminds me of the 60s, when women used so much hairspray on their updos that even a hurricane wouldn't blow a hair out of place.

Now, of course there are times when we want to have our hair look perfect. It may be on a wedding day, either as a bride or a bridesmaid.  It may be for a formal event, or for a formal photographic portrait.

However, in my opinion, for every day, it is nice to see hairstyles that look pretty, but slightly imperfect. I think of those escapee hairs as looking "romantically disheveled". I encourage you too to embrace your halos, cowlicks or whatever is not absolutely perfect about your hair. It's very freeing and it's a wonderful feeling.

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with that video. If not, then who knows?

Love to all.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: 5 More Things About Me

I am supposed to share 10 things about myself, after receiving the Beautiful Blogger Award. Last week I posted the first 5 and today I'll share 5 more.

6. I have an extensive mineral collection. In other words, I collect rocks. I have several stones and crystals, some very rare, some very common, but all very interesting. Some are tumbled and polished, some are in their raw, natural state. Many of them have beautiful colour patterns and some are very intricate clusters, with interesting striations or complex formations. I really enjoy touching and looking at my rocks. I have one piece that is 15 million years old.

7. I love to read. I like classics and new work as well. I enjoy novels more than non-fiction. Among my favourite classics are the works of E.M Forster, The Bronte Sisters, M. Somerset Maugham, Edgar Allen Poe and Jane Austen.  I read Jane Austen's novels regularly.

My favourite current author is Anne Tyler, although I enjoy so many others.

8. Movies are a passion of mine. I love old movie classics such as The Thin Man series, "Now Voyager" with Bette Davis, and I also enjoy film noir.  My favourite current movies are usually small indie movies or foreign films. I love finding the hidden gems that many people never see. I have also been watching a lot of Hindi films of late, inspired by a dear friend with whom I trade recommendations.  My favourite recent indie movie is a film called "Ink".

9.I have a severe peanut allergy. Just eating a half of a peanut could cause anaphylactic shock and kill me. Getting to an emergency room ASAP would be essential. While I've always been careful to stay away from peanuts, there have been a few times when I've taken a bite of something that unexpectedly had peanuts in it. Scary indeed.

Unfortunately, in stressing the importance of keeping peanuts away from me, my children really were frightened of peanuts as children and would not eat them. I often feel really bad about how afraid they were on my account.

10. I never wore a braid in my hair until I was about 27 years old. My mother never put my hair in braids as a child, and my hair was rarely long enough to wear a braid as an adult. Before joining The Long Hair Community at the age of 45, I was never able to wear a French Braid that was fit to wear outside of the house. I also had no idea on how to hold my hair up with a hair stick until I was 45.

So that's it.  If you've managed to read this far, I applaud you.

As for awarding the 9 other bloggers that I am supposed to do, I will have to do that in future entries.  I won't forget to do it, but I am not ready at this point.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week, and I'll see you tomorrow to talk hair.

Love to all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Shedding? Don't Panic.

I had this happen to me, and I've seen it dozens of times with other people new to longer hair. I was used to having my hair a certain length, and when it got significantly longer, I seemed to be shedding more.  It seemed as though overnight I was losing massively more amounts of hair than I usually lost.

I decided to actually count the shed hairs after brushing one day.  It looked as though there were 100 hairs in my brush, but I counted only 20. For some reason, when the length of my hair had doubled, it seemed that the quantity of shed hairs had looked as though they were far more than doubled.  I don't know the reason for this phenomenon, but I do know that it's true, and I now know that it happens to others as well.

Fortunately, when I started my long hair journey, I had also measured my nape circumference. I was then able to also pacify myself by realizing that my nape circumference had not gotten smaller.

If your hair is long enough to make a ponytail at the nape, I suggest that you also measure your nape circumference, just for the occasion that you think you're having a major shed. If the back of your hair is long enough to measure, but the sides are not, then measure again when more and more hair can fit into a ponytail.

If you cut bangs or face-framing layers, then do take another new measurement, as your circumference will naturally be smaller without the inclusion of the bangs or face-framing layers.

Almost everyone thinks at some time or another that they're having a major shed, when they're really not. They look in the shower and think there's an awful lot of hair there; more than there used to be, or like me, they see more hair in their brush. In truth, it's just more quantity of hair due to length, not more hairs.

It's really good to have a baseline measurement to be able to go to in order to determine whether or not there is really a problem.

Also remember that on average, we do shed about 50-100 hairs per day.  That is completely normal.

On occasion, people do shed a lot of hair. For example, most women are familiar with the post-partum shed. That is extremely common and it did happen to me, especially after the birth of my second child. However, the hair started growing back almost immediately. Sometimes after a trauma or a really severe stress, people can have a larger than normal shed. Again, this hair grows back right away. While it's frustrating to have temporarily thinner hair, it's nothing to worry about, if you can feel or see new hairs growing in. It is worth checking with the doctor though, just to be on the safe side.

However, if you really are having a big shed for no reason that makes sense, and if your hair's circumference is significantly reduced, please see a doctor, as soon as possible. Problems with thyroid are a common cause of hair loss. Also, there can other hormonal issues at play. Most of these problems can be treated, and this will save your hair, but much more importantly, your health.

Do remember though, that most of the time, as your hair gets longer, you will hit a certain length where your hair seems to be shedding more, but it's just an illusion. So do measure that circumference. It may give you peace of mind.

On another note, I am feeling a bit more chipper and cheerful today, and I hope to post some hairstyle photos and/or a video later in the week. The weather may be ushering in some migraine-free days, which I'm looking forward to very much.

Love to all, my friends. 'Til tomorrow.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Not Quite As Cheerful As I'd Hoped

I really wanted to be more chipper and cheerful when I wrote today, but it's just not happening. I still have a migraine and that summer cold as well as hot flashes, and I feel like a bear with a thorn stuck in its paw.

I'm not feeling as impatient about my hair today as I was yesterday, but I'm not feeling great about it either.  AutumnLeaves, wouldn't you think we'd have learned our lessons by this age?

I do want to say hi and thank you to Linda, a new reader who left some lovely comments on my website.  Your kind words cheered me up, and we can all learn  to be patient together.

I've mentioned before that I used to use cone-free products, but that I am now using cones (products with silicones) on my damaged ends. I really like the conditioners that I've been using, but I tried another one yesterday that made my ends feel as if they're made of plastic. This is not helping me feel any better about those damaged ends.  I don't know whether it was a one-time thing with this conditioner or if I need to clarify and perhaps that's the problem. I have used this conditioner in the past, but I don't recall my hair feeling this way after using it.

I will be trying the conditioner again, but I do have to say that the last few inches of my hair feel like Barbie hair.  It's really not a good feeling. I'll go back to the usual conditioners and give this one another try at a later date.  It really could be other factors that is causing my hair to feel this way. We'll see.

It's going to be quite a while until I'll be able to go cone-free again, but I'm not minding it too much ordinarily. If I try to go completely cone-free now, I'd have so many tangles on the ends, and my hair would feel so rough. It's just not worth it to me.

With the heat and the humidity, as well as the hot flashes that I'm experiencing, I just can't say enough how happy I am that my hair is long enough to put up and keep off my neck. I'm not wearing it in any way fancy, but it's up and out of the way. I don't know how I would cope if I had hair on my neck during hot flashes.

On another note, they say that a mother is only as happy as her least happy child.  I believe that to be true. I won't say much, but I will say that one of my kids is going through a trying time.  It's only temporary, and it's not health-related, thank heaven, but it's a trying time nonetheless. I truly hope things get better very quickly.

Well, I guess that's about as much babbling as I dare do today.

Love to all.  'Til tomorrow my friends.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Just Grow, Dagnabbit!

Maybe it's because I woke up with a summer cold this morning and I still have a migraine, but I'm feeling very--er--irritable about my hair today.

I was just visiting The Long Hair Community, and one of my buddies who joined TLHC a few months after me, whose hair was much shorter than my starting length just posted an update, and her hair, which was always beautiful, is now half way down her bottom and still gorgeous.

All I can think about is the fact that my own stupidity has set me back so far.  My hair right now is not much longer than it was when I started the journey 4 years ago.

It's true that my hair was damaged when I first started the journey, and that highly processed, heat-treated hair would likely have had to have been cut off eventually.  However, I really did myself in when I had the bright idea of dying my hair brown.  I know I've moaned about this several times, but today it's really getting to me.

I damaged my hair so much getting it back to my blonde colour, and I've had to cut so much of that damage off. I still have a few inches of that damage left.  It's not visibly damaged really, but I can feel the damage.

Yes, yes, I've ranted about this before, and I know that I can't go back in time and undo my mistakes, but sometimes it does get me down.  I guess today is just one of those days. I just need to whine and get it off my chest.

Intellectually I know that my hair will be at waist length a year from now.  I also know how swiftly a year passes these days.  But here I am frustrated yet again. Logic just doesn't always work.

Patience, PATIENCE, PATIENCE!!!  That has to be my mantra for the rest of the day. I'm sure I'll be over this frustration after a good night's sleep.  And now I'm off to have some green tea and take some vitamin C.  What kind of fool catches a cold in July?  Okay, don't answer that.

I hope to be back tomorrow feeling more chipper and cheerful.

Love to all.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nothing Works For Everyone

Wouldn't it be nice if hair care tips that worked like magic for some people worked for everyone? It's just not the case though. It's such a matter of trial and error when it comes to hair. 

Even people with the exact same hair type can often have radically different results with various products, methods and treatments.

I remember when I first joined The Long Hair Community, I was overwhelmed with all of the products and methods that seemed to work like magic for some people. Someone with the same or similar hair type would rave about a product, and so I would run out and buy it and it just didn't do anything for me. Sometimes another recommended product would work like a charm.

I've come to the conclusion that every head of hair is as unique as a snowflake, and there really is no one thing that works for everyone.

If that wasn't bad enough, I've also realized that what works for me in the middle of winter does not work as well in the summer.  The change of seasons can often mean a couple of weeks of unhappy hair until I adjust my routine.

It can really be frustrating to look for that shampoo, conditioner, deep treatment or hair tool that will give the results one wants. I've finally settled happily into a routine, but not before trying many products and methods that just didn't work.

I still can't say that I've found the holy grail of hair products, but I am getting much better at knowing what will and won't work for my hair. I no longer seem to be spending money on products that don't work. My routine has become very minimal. 

If you're reading this and you're new to the long hair journey, just remember to try only one new thing at a time, and see how that works.

Don't try to change your routine too drastically with several different products, deep treatments or methods all at once, or you'll never find out just what is or isn't working.  Yes, it requires some patience, but you'll figure it out. You may also save yourself some money.

Above all, remember that growing long hair is a very, very long term project and you have time to figure these things out. As I've said before, it's a journey, not a race.

As for me, I still have that migraine that I mentioned yesterday. We did get the thunderstorms and there are more on the way.

Even though thunderstorms induce migraines for me, I do love them. There is something magical and so beautiful about hearing the tinkling of the rain, seeing lightning and hearing thunder and feeling safe and sound in one's home.

Luluj, if you live in the Niagara Region, then I imagine you live somewhere less than an hour from where I live.  I hope you did get that rain.  AutumnLeaves, I hope you get some rain too. It sounds awfully hot where you are. It's very hot and humid here as well. I'm hoping that the thunderstorms that we are getting today and over the weekend wash away some of that humidity as they nourish the earth.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful and happy weekend.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Migraine, Limp Hair and More On Shea Butter Allergies

Well, I have a blaster of a migraine today, so this entry will be a quickie. My migraines are definitely related to the weather. I can predict a thunderstorm with amazing accuracy judging by how a migraine feels, and I knew when I awoke this morning that we're in for some thunder and lightning.  The weather office agrees, it seems.

Today is one of those days where my hair is limp and lank. I think in this case the cause is that I put just a bit too much oil on my ends last night when doing my light bedtime oil and brushing. An extra two drops can make all the difference.  Less is more when it comes to every day oiling, as I've mentioned before.  I guess I wasn't keeping track of my drops.

However, my hair does feel soft, and it's days like this that I am so happy to know a few rock solid updos that hide the fact that I'm having a bad hair day. I never oil my bangs, so they look just fine.

I was discussing Shea Butter yesterday, and I have had good results with it on my hair and skin.  I have very sensitive skin and some eczema, on which I use Shea Butter happily, but according to this blog entry by Ktani, it is a more common allergen than what I wrote yesterday, so I'm adding this link as a caution.

So if you do purchase Shea Butter, make sure you get a small size the first time and do a patch test before slathering it all over.  As I mentioned yesterday, it is not recommended for use by people with latex allergies and it goes without saying that it's a no-no if you have nut allergies.

I myself have a severe peanut allergy, but peanuts are not nuts; they are legumes.  While I can eat other legumes, peanuts cause anaphylactic shock in me.

In any case, Ktani has quite extensive information there.  It's always best to be informed.

So, that's it for today. Not much new happening here, and I am going to relax and do what I have to in order to get rid of this migraine.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Make Your Own Leave-In Conditioner

I've mentioned that I like to add a dollop of conditioner to my ends while my hair is still damp after washing. Sometimes my ends need a little more help, and at those times I like to use a recipe that was developed by Fox at the Long Hair Loom.

It's called Fox's Shea Butter Conditioning Cream. Shea butter is made from the extract of shea tree nuts that are grown in Africa. Shea butter has many uses, but is particularly good for the skin and hair. Among its many properties, it contains anti-oxidants, including vitamin E.

I should add that for some reason people with latex allergies often have an adverse reaction to shea butter, but otherwise, shea butter is very soothing to the skin and conditioning for the hair. It's even good for eczema.

It's important to use unrefined shea butter as it contains all of the vitamins and nutrients of the nut whereas refined shea butter loses some.  Also, if you're purchasing shea butter, make sure that you buy fair trade shea butter, so that you know that the workers who picked the nuts and processed them have been paid properly.

Shea butter has a very nutty odour that I like but many find unpleasant.  It is quite rich, and needs to be emulsified by rubbing between your hands if you want to apply it straight from the jar. Many people with coarse and/or thick hair can use it straight, but it's too rich for me.

That's why I use Fox's recipe. It's a bit lighter than shea butter alone, but it has the benefits of  the butter.

To make the conditioning cream you need shea butter, the oil of your choice and the conditioner of your choice.

I make very small batches, because a pea-sized amount is enough for each use in my case.  Here is the recipe and the amounts I use.  You may want to make more or less, depending on your length and thickness. This batch lasts quite a while for me.

1 tbsp Shea Butter
1 tbsp conditioner
1/2 tbsp oil (I use jojoba oil)
(optional: a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, for the scent)

I start by putting the tablespoon of shea butter in a small plastic container.  The shea butter is solid, so I submerge the bottom of the container in a little bit of hot water to melt it.  I then add the oil and the conditioner and I mix it very thoroughly with a fork. I find that a fork works best for this.

Once it's well mixed, it is ready to use.  It will be slightly liquid at first, but will cool down into a more creamy texture.

A little goes a long way, so try using less rather than more to begin with.

So if you're in the mood to try something a little different, you might like to try this recipe. I like it very much.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Some Thank Yous and Other Things

A little over a week ago, I was delighted to see that AutumnLeaves, whose blog I adore, honoured me with The Beautiful Blog Award.  I am deeply moved and very grateful.  As you know, A.L., I think you are an amazing human being with a beautiful spirit, and it means a lot coming from you. I am not using your real name here, because I don't know if you use it here.

Now according to the rules, I am to write 10 things about myself, and award this to 10 other bloggers.  Today I will write the first 5 things about myself, and award the first of the 10  bloggers. I will write the next 5 things about myself next week and award other bloggers on Tuesdays to come.

1. I was very good at school, and I completely skipped the third grade. I wasn't informed that I would be skipping a grade. On the Friday of my first week in Grade 3, without warning I was asked to pack up my desk and move to the Grade 4 classroom.  I was told that the reason was because they had "too many desks" in Grade 4. It was very confusing.

I therefore missed out on many of the fundamentals that are taught in the 3rd grade, such as learning cursive writing, multiplication and some sports such as volleyball and softball.

On my first day in the Grade 4 classroom, being a Friday, there was a spelling test.  We were told that we had to write in cursive, and not knowing how, I wrote the spelling test by copying the letters off the alphabet chart above the blackboard.  I still remember that I only got 24/25 on that test, only because my "q" looked like a "g". I did spell the word correctly though.

I had the intelligence, but I did not have the self-esteem or confidence to have skipped a grade, and it made life tough for me for many years. I became painfully self-conscious and I was not readily accepted by my peers.  By high school, things improved, but I never again did take a gym class.

2. I met my husband in 1981.  We dated for 5 years before moving in together, by which time we were so used to one another's habits, that our first year living together was easy and very happy.  We didn't have the adjustment period that many couples have during their first year of marriage or living together.

3. My husband and I married on a Tuesday without telling anyone.  We didn't want a big wedding, and we didn't want a big fuss.  The reason we married on a Tuesday was that it was the anniversary of our first date.  I thought it would be easier for my husband to remember our anniversary if it was the same as the anniversary he already knew.  It worked.

4. We have two children, a daughter who is 21, and living on her own, and a son who is 19, still living with us.

5. When we got our first home computer in the year 2000, I had never touched a computer before. I didn't even know how a mouse worked. After about 3 months our computer crashed. The computer company replaced our computer, but we lost all of our data.

After that, I made it my business to learn everything I could about how computers run. I learned how to optimize performance, maintain the computer's health and how to fix problems.

Some years ago, we had a crash on the desktop computer, and a friend of ours who is very IT savvy said that there would be no way to fix it without losing data. Undaunted, I did fix it and saved the data. I can reformat and make a clean install of Windows, and I know how to import my saved data.

We have never had to pay for computer repairs. I admit to being quite geekily proud of my skills.

I'll write another 5 next week.

I would like to give my first The Beautiful Blogger Award to SchnauzerMom. Her blog is truly a gentle haven, written with a down-to-earth voice. Each entry is always embellished with a lovely photo she has taken and an inspiring thought. I unfailingly feel that The Shaggy Dog Journal is very comforting and soothing, a gentle voice in a harsh world. It is also aesthetically beautiful.

Thank you also to Ktani for the very kind mention in your blog. As you know, I am in awe of the lengths you go to in order to research hair care. Your research has paid off for me; especially your research on coconut oil reducing peroxide damage. I have mentioned your research in this blog in the past.

In any case, your kind words really delighted me and made me feel good.

Love to all.  'Til tomorrow, my friends.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday, Monday

I'm still feeling pretty good these days about my hair.  I did notice that the very tips of my ends had a stripped feeling on Saturday, and I'm not entirely sure why.  My roots were due for a touch-up yesterday, so I oiled my hair with even more coconut oil than I usually do before colouring and bunned the oiled hair for the morning and early part of the afternoon before beginning my touch-up at around 4 PM.

I can't believe how quickly the weeks fly by.  It seems that I was just posting about touching up my roots, but it had been 4 weeks, which is about how long I can go with my current growth rate.

My husband and my son were out of town for the afternoon until early evening, so it was a good time to do a root touch-up without the family having to breathe in the scent of hair dye.  It also gave me a chance to do a post-colour deep protein conditioning with Joico K-Pak.  I don't use K-Pak often, but when I do, my hair seems to be happy.  

After I rinsed that out, I put a bit of conditioner on my ends, and followed that with some jojoba oil. My hair feels great again. 

I confess that I will be delighted when I am finally rid of the  few inches of damaged hair that is still there.  Fortunately, the damage is not so visible to the eye, but I really can feel it, especially when my hair is wet.

Growing long hair really is a longterm project, isn't it?

I don't think too often about just how longterm a project it is, or it would be overwhelming.  I have so many goals, that it could years before I get to where I want to be in terms of both maximum length and maximum health. There may be other goals that I want to achieve along the way as well that I have not even thought of as yet.

So many women my age have opted to grow out their natural colour. While I know that doing that would give me the healthiest possible hair, I just don't imagine doing that any time soon, as I've mentioned before.

I don't feel like a slave to hair colour as some people do, in the sense that it's not much of an inconvenience for me.I have gotten so quick at doing the application that It's done in no time at all. Yesterday, I did indulge in that deep treatment, so I spent more time on my hair than I usually would, but that was enjoyable, and I felt so much better afterwards. It was sort of like a spa day.

I trimmed my bangs last week.  I've mentioned before that I have to trim every 2 weeks or so; sometimes more often, because I like to keep my bangs at brow level.  

However, last week, I really felt the need to get the hair out of my eyes, so I purposely cut my hair about 1/4 inch too short.  It's funny how much difference that quarter of an inch makes.  My bangs really do have that "too short" look.  It's not so bad that I wouldn't go out in public this way, but it does make me smile when I look in the mirror.

I think it was a combination of heat and headaches that made me decide to trim them shorter than usual.  I just needed to feel that I would not have hair in my eyes for a while.  However, they will be looking normal again in less than 2 weeks. Then I'll be at that fine line between just the right length and "Eek! Get them out of my eyes!"

Today, I'm just wearing my hair up in a simple cinnamon bun, which is often my go-to style on a hot day.  And it is another hot and humid day. As so often occurs when it's hot and humid, there are thunderstorms in the forecast, although it's bright and sunny right now.
Well, that's enough of my rambling for one day.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hairstyle How-To: Annalee's Folded Twist

I based this hairstyle on one done by someone close to me by the name of--you guessed it--Annalee. :)

Here are the instructions.

1. Twist hair straight upwards, in a counterclockwise direction.

2. Place pinky finger of right hand as an anchoring spot near the crown of the head, and bring the twisted ponytail around the anchor.

3. Grasp the loop that has been formed and flip it to the left.

4. Place flipped loop against head. If you wish, you can wrap the ends and tuck them in.  I leave the tail hanging out. Prepare to secure the style with a hair fork, hair sticks or a hair clip.

5. Here is the finished style. I secured it with a Ficcare Maximas in Royal Blue (or Sapphire) from the Lotus Jewel II Collection.

I hope you like it, and I hope that everyone has had a wonderful weekend. 

Love to all!  'Til tomorrow, my friends.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

So Many Rules!

First of all, thanks to you who gave birthday wishes.  They mean a lot. 

April, it's so nice to see you here.  I'm happy that you're back in the long hair groove.  You've always had extraordinarily beautiful hair.

Ice Queen (I can't help it; I just can't think of you as Icy and it makes me laugh :) ) and Aamba, thank you.  AutumnLeaves and Ohtawen, thank you also for the birthday wishes, and they're not late at all. In my family, a birthday is a week-long celebration.

I also want to say hello to luluj, my newest Canadian reader.  I really appreciated your kind words about the Gibson Tuck and my blog in general.  How delightful that you have a 6 week old granddaughter!

Well, today I was browsing the Internet and I came across an interesting article about suitable haircuts for various facial shapes and ages. As usual after reading these articles, I am just flabbergasted by the sheer number of rules that the "experts" have for us.

Seemingly, according to this article, the universally flattering haircut is shoulder length. No matter what our age or hair type, I guess that we all should have shoulder length hair.  So say goodbye to your beloved pixie cut or your waist length locks!

Now, there is one exception about having long hair.  It must be in a deep V-Shape so that the hair is no longer than the shoulder at the front, and there should be layers as short as the lip or chin.  This is the only universally flattering long haircut.

There are a number of rules for short hair too.  We mustn't wear our hair too short if we're tall, or we may look too masculine.

Also, my goodness, there are a lot of rules about bangs as well. My head is swimming with all of the rules.

And my favourite line in the whole article is, "That said, anyone with hair below their breasts is committing a huge beauty faux pas and as their friend, you might gently encourage them to see a stylist."

Just imagine telling someone with a glorious waist length mane to see a stylist and get their hair cut!  Or telling a woman with short hair that she looks too masculine.  Ridiculous!

While I understand that beauty writers need fodder to write about and hair stylists need to create styles preferably for repeat business in 6 weeks or so, it seems that there is no allowance for self-expression. Maybe what is not the most flattering hairstyle "on paper" is actually beautiful, because the wearer loves it and is therefore exuding self-confidence. I see this so often on both short- and long-haired women.

Also, when it comes to long hair, these articles never take into account the fact that long hair is so versatile, and can be worn in so many different and flattering ways.

I remember as a young woman reading the popular beauty magazines and buying into so many of the things they said. I am so happy that I am now only trying to please myself and not the so-called experts. It's really time for we women to think for ourselves.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'm 49!!! I'm 49!!! Woooo-hoooooooo!!!!!!!

It's my birthday today, and as of 8:21 EDT this morning, I am 49 years of age. I have to say that for some reason, the idea of being in my 50th year is very exciting to me.

I want to thank everyone who left such lovely comments for yesterday's blog entry. They are all much appreciated and really made my day even more special today.

It's been a wonderful day of being with family, or connecting with them in one way or another, as well as my friends, both my in-person friends and my online friends. I've been able to see, talk to, or write to just about everyone that I love today.  It really doesn't get any better than that.

Being the Birthday Girl, I am taking the day off of blogging.  I'll be back tomorrow, perhaps with some hair talk. :D

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Love to all.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

100th Blog Entry Already

I noticed today that this is my 100th blog entry. I honestly find it hard to imagine that for 100 days I have written an entry every day, mostly on the topic of hair. I'm glad I never thought this far ahead, or I don't think I would have thought I could have done it. Therefore, I likely never would have started.

What I've learned though, is that this blog is less about hair than the lessons it's been teaching me. I guess I've realized that the hair journey thing is a metaphor in many ways for the life journey in general.

I discovered fairly quickly that how I felt about my hair was often a reflection on how I felt about myself or about my life.

For example, I have learned that perfectionism is not necessary, often is destructive and can literally paralyze and stop me in my tracks. Sometimes "good enough" really is good enough. I don't have to be perfect. I would have thought that I would have figured this out a long time ago, but actually, it only became crystal clear for me during the process of blogging about my hair.

Patience.  I never really realized what a gift of grace patience truly is. And I have discovered that I have far more patience than I ever knew.

I also have learned that I am capable of stepping way outside of my comfort zone, which is what I've done by making my little videos. They may not look like much, but for me, it was a big breakthrough to be able to make the videos, let alone release them to the world.

What a wonderful thing it's been to actually follow through on writing every day. Some days I really think that I have nothing to say, but I write anyway. Somehow, something always comes out. They may not be pearls, but I manage to write every day anyway.

I honestly didn't think I had the stick-to-it-iveness to write on a daily basis.  But I have!

I have also learned that frustrations come but then they go. It's not worth getting hung up on something unimportant when in just a day or two it seems completely irrelevant. I'm finally starting to see what is meant by "don't sweat the small stuff".

Have I taken all of this to heart and integrated it into my personality and my life as yet? Well, I'm afraid I've still got a long way to go, but I'm seeing the path more clearly now.

So thank you blog, for these and the other lessons you've taught me, and above all, thank you to my readers, who help to keep me motivated. You mean so very much to me.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Video Hairstyle How-To: Southern Tease

This is a variation that I came up with to make the Southern Tease or Southern Pleat hairstyle work for me. The methods used in the other instructions I'd seen just didn't work on my fine and slippery hair. It's a really good protective updo, and it's very easy to do.

While I've slowed down my motions for the video, the style usually takes me about 30 to 40 seconds and actually works out better than when I do it quickly than it turned out in the video.

I hope you like it.

Love to all.  'Til tomorrow, friends.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Changing Makeup With Age

It seems that the theme so far this week has had to do with age and aging. I suppose that's not surprising with my birthday coming up in a few days. There are certain times in the year that sometimes have one reflecting on the past and the future. For some, it's the New Year, for me, it's often around my birthday.

I was thinking about some of the comments made to me and by me about makeup here in my blog, and it really got me thinking about how much I've had to adapt my makeup style in the past decade or so. I've touched on this a bit in the past, but I was thinking about it a lot today.

In my 20s, I was a cosmetician, and in that capacity, I had access to all of the cosmetics I could ever want to try.  I was unafraid of trying new styles or colours. While there's no doubt that at times, I overdid it (does anyone remember the strong, unnatural slashes of blush of the early '80s?), I always had fun with it.

In my 30s, I wore makeup in the same style and applied it the same way, just with a lighter touch as was more suitable to my life as well as the fashion of the times. I know that I wore more makeup than many women. I always wore a full foundation makeup if I wore any makeup at all, but I did have acne scars, and they were easily covered with foundation.

Everything changed shortly after I hit 40. Foundation no longer blended into my skin and seemed to disappear, leaving a flawless finish. It somehow laid on top of my skin and seemed to show off my enlarged pores and scars rather than cover them as it used to. I even would buy my favourite top brand, but to no avail. This was really a problem, because while I no longer felt the need for every day makeup, it is nice to be able to go out to dinner or out for the evening and feel one's best. How was I going to feel my best with all of those red acne scars or rosacea showing?

At about the same time, I noticed that applying my eye makeup as I had previously done made me look hard and older rather than setting my eyes off nicely and making them appear larger as it had done in the past. The contours of my eyelids were changing and I didn't know how to adapt. My lids weren't and still aren't crepey, and even now I don't have any deep wrinkles, but the skin is sagging, changing the contours of my face completely from what I had known during the first 25 years or so of applying makeup.

I was no longer a cosmetician, so not in the loop of knowledge anymore, and at that time, makeup tutorials on the Internet were as yet non-existent.  If they did exist, they were not easy to find. I was really at a loss as to what to do, so I really had to put on my thinking cap. My artistry with contouring my lids had to change, I had to rethink my eyeliner, and I really had to figure out how to make my skin look good without relying on foundation makeup.

I tried some of the new powdered makeup that came with a sponge that was popular early in the 2000s, and that was not for me. I also tried the silky creme makeups that were applied with a sponge as well.  No dice.

Finishing off with  dusting of face powder was not working the way it used to either. That just seemed to create lines that weren't even really there.

So I ended up learning how to just use concealer where needed.  I have since discovered mineral makeup, which I love. I use Bare Escentuals, and after quickly finding my perfect shade, I found that it was wonderful to use only where needed and when blended really well, it gives the polished skin look that I had lost, without having to be fully covered with foundation.

As for my eye makeup, I realized that putting a dark shade of contour in the crease no longer worked, because now the crease is completely hidden unless I close my eyes. So I began using contour eye makeup with my eyes held open, and applying it to the skin just above the crease, and then blend, blend, blend.

I've always had a passion for eyeliner, but I've had to tone that down. Under my bottom lashes, I use just the tiniest amount, and only about halfway from the outer eye toward the inner eye.

I still have to get better at the upper eyeliner. I know it can make middle-aged women look hard, and I'm no exception, but I'm not at the point where I am ready to give up on my liner on the top lid as yet. I need to work on toning it down still, but with my thin, light, and short lashes, I do need some definition.  Perhaps just not as much as I'm doing right now.

Likely, a photo of myself with too-heavy top eyeliner will one day give me the wake-up call I need on that issue. Photos can have an excellent way of doing that.

As for lipstick, I can't and never could wear anything with even a hint of orange.  I can only wear cool colours, and I have found that a lot of the lighter, more neutral shades are just a touch on the coral side and end up looking orangey on me. I used to like deep rose shades with a hint of mauve, but that no longer suits. I do have a nice soft pink shade that is more natural looking than most pink shades from my past. I love that colour, but I just know that it will likely be discontinued by the next time I try to buy it. I will also say that on occasion, if I keep my eye makeup toned down, I do like a nice cool red lipstick. I likely won't be able to wear red lipstick at all in another 10 years, so I may as well enjoy it now from time to time.

All in all, it's been quite an experience trying to piece together my new look.

Now, I need to figure out the clothing thing.  Honestly, I am so clueless when it comes to clothes with my large tummy.  I look at how other women  who have a little extra weight dress, but most of them seem to have their weight distributed differently than mine, so it's of no help. I'll be needing some solid advice on that count. Of course getting the weight off would be even better. I still have to figure out just how I'm going to do that.

Anyway, that's about all the blathering I have for today.

Love to all, my friends.  'Til tomorrow.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Short Hairstyles--There's Still an Allure

A lot of people seem to think that I've become some kind of a long hair freak and that I have something against short hair.  Nothing could be further from the truth. I've just come to the realization that unlike most women, I feel that short hair is no longer for me. While short hair could look cute and sassy at times in my 20s and even into my 30s, I just don't like the look of it on me anymore.

My last really short haircut was in 2003.  At that point, I was 42, no longer as slim as I once was, wearing my hair a shade or two too light, and I wanted a change. I went for a lip length bob.  It felt really good; light and swingy, and it was easy to wash and dry. However, it still required some heat styling in order to look nice, and frankly, when I saw photos of myself with the cut, I realized it just didn't look as good as it might have when I was younger. It seemed to emphasize the new flaws in my features that had occurred naturally during the aging process.

I am not attempting to ward off aging. In many ways I embrace being older. I do realize though that I have to adapt and wear makeup and hair that suits and makes the most of my new and ever-changing face and figure.

I admit it.  There are many times that I look at the latest short hairstyles, or admire one on an actress in a movie and on TV.

In the past I would often go for it, just for the change. I've finally gotten it through my skull that I don't have the face or figure of those hair models or movie stars, and just getting their hair cut will not make me look like them.  Why did it take me so long to really get that?  Logically, I always knew it, but emotionally, I didn't listen to that logic.

On the other hand, there are so many beautiful women who are my age or older who really look lovely with short hair.  Part of it has to do with their facial features, and part of it has to do with their hair type. Women with certain types of hair can look so glamorous with short hair in a way that I never could, no matter what I did. Other women do not look glamorous with their short hair, but they do look beautiful with that confidence that their hair suits them. All of these women do look their age, as I feel I do; they may have wrinkles, but for whatever reason, their faces suit their hair.

Am I the only person who has fallen into that trap of not putting my own facial features into consideration when getting a haircut? I doubt it. I do regret that it took me so long to get it.

Now that I really think about it, I know that I really am not the only person for whom that's been an issue. It's no secret that just about all advertising revolves around the knowledge that women think that if they buy a particular scent or brand of makeup that they are somehow going to look or feel like the actress or model in the commercial or ad.

We really have to collectively wise up.

Til tomorrow, my friends.  Love to all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Another Quiet Sunday

Today has been a nice lazy day for just relaxing, reading, watching a movie and hanging out with the family. It's very warm and humid and we are under a severe thunderstorm watch, which seems surprising as it's so sunny out. I'm sure that the dark clouds will sneak up on us suddenly.

It's another one of those days where I've just tossed my hair up in a wrapped hair stick bun, as I'm not in the mood to do anything fancy.

I'm at peace with my hair again, and just forgetting about it for the most part. Those are always the best times for me--when I really don't look at or think about my hair. I just put it up, forget about it, and in a few weeks I'm surprised at how much it's grown.  I hope I can stay in this mode for a while.

My bangs need a trimming again. I really have to give them a trim about every two weeks. I don't like to cut too much off, or they look too short, but it does mean frequent trimming. However, it's second nature to me now to trim my bangs, and it only takes a minute or two. It's nice to not have to think about going to a salon just to have my bangs trimmed the way I used to back in the day.

One thing I never seem to get used to, even after all these years, is just how quickly my white roots grow in. It's only been three weeks since my last touch-up, but the roots are very obvious, depending on how I style my hair. That's another plus about bangs; my roots don't show up at the hairline too much. So I still have a while before I have to do another touch-up.

I was looking at my projected hair growth chart, and I see that if all goes according to plan, I will be firmly at waist length in a year's time. That will be just in time for my fiftieth birthday!

This coming Friday, I turn 49. I can't remember anymore what I imagined I would be like at this age. I don't think I ever expected that I would be happily be wearing my hair flat and straight. I was so obsessed with getting height, curls and volume for so many years, that I'm quite sure I would never have seen my future as someone who is entirely happy with my straight, fine hair, and leaving it that way every day. I don't think I would have imagined going days at a time without wearing makeup either.  But that's the way it is.

I really was such a slave to hair and makeup when I was younger. I feel a bit sorry for that young woman who felt unworthy of just being herself. I am so happy that I got past all of that.

Don't get me wrong. I still do wear makeup if I'm going out somewhere nice, and I still like it. I just no longer feel it necessary anymore if I'm just at home or nipping out to the store or to the doctor's, the way I used to.

Anyway, today is one of those days when I appreciate that I've grown very comfortable in my own skin.  It sure took long enough!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hairstyle: 3 Knot Updo

Today, I'm wearing another messy/casual updo. It's made from three knots pinned down with the ends sticking out. This style tends to look slightly different every time I do it.

To make this updo, I divided my hair into three. I made a part on each side of my head from the crown to the ear. The back section was the largest.

I took the back section, wrapped it around my fingers, then pulled the ends through the loop that was created by the wrapping. Essentially it's a slip knot. I then just pinned the knot into place.

Then I took the loose hair from the right side, crossed it over the pinned knot and then created a second knot, which I then pinned into place on the left. Finally, I took the loose hair from the left, crossed it over the two knots and created a third knot on the right side, and also pinned that into place.

The reason I crossed the left to the right and the right to the left is so that the parts wouldn't show.

If I wanted to make this style more polished, I could take the ends of each knot, wrap them around and pin them under. I could also use a smoothing hair-friendly gel or spray if I wanted to reduce the flyaways.  However, for a casual summer day, I like the flyaway, ends-sticking-out look.

I can do a step-by-step of how to make the knots in a future entry if anyone is interested.

I hope that everyone is enjoying a lovely weekend. Myself, I'm feeling a bit better than I was yesterday.

Love to all.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Keeping Myself Motivated

I was looking through some old hair photos from when I first started growing my hair and using healthy hair care practices and found something a bit surprising. 

I found this photo of my hair in a Figure 8 Updo. My hair at the time slightly shorter than it is now. Yet since my hair has so much less taper and is now thicker, I can't yet do a Figure 8 as nice as this one looks.

I can do a "sort-of Figure 8" right now, but the top part of the 8 really isn't there. It's not nearly polished enough to wear out and about.

So I am pleased that while I haven't yet achieved great lengths, I have definitely improved the quality and thickness of my hair.

I do wonder just when I'll be able to do a Figure 8 Bun or an Infinity Bun again that I feel good about posting. It could be months yet. Having never had hair with ends this thick at this length before, it's all new territory for me. Figure 8s are among my very favourite updos, so I am eager.

In the meantime, looking forward to be able to properly do this style again is just another one of those things that keeps me going.

In other news, I decided that right now just wasn't the time to grow out the wider and deeper part of my bangs. I cut them again until I can come up with a good strategy to grow them out.  If you recall, I don't want to grow out all of my bangs--I am completely and totally a bangs person--but I think they may be just too wide and deep. I can live with it for now.

Still not feeling quite up to par, but I do plan on feeling better tomorrow. I can plan that, can't I?  :D

Til then, my friends. Love to all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Under the Weather

That's me.  Today I'm both literally and figuratively under the weather. It remains very hot, hazy and humid today, and I have a migraine on top of it, so I'll be brief today.

I was hoping to try and master a new hairstyle today, but this just wasn't the day for it. For most of the day I haven't given my hair a thought.

However, I did hit a very mini mini-milestone today. I am now able to reach up behind my back and grab the ends of my hair at the top of the U-shape. I've been able to reach up and grab the centre of my hair for a while, but the sides of my U were too short. Now I can not only see but feel the progress on the sides of my hair, and not just the very back.

These are the kind of little things that always give me a smile, even on a day like today when I'm not feeling the smile too much.

The weather is supposed to give us a bit of a break as of tomorrow. The temperatures should be significantly lower for a few days, and I for one, welcome it.

I guess if I look on the bright side of all this humidity, I guess it does mean that the moisture in my hair will not be evaporating and drying out.

Anyway, I am going to take it easy this evening and hope that I feel better tomorrow. My primary plan is to get to bed early tonight. I need my beauty sleep.

Love to all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

5 Ways To Help Prevent Split Ends

It's the hottest day of the year here so far.  The temperature as of 4:00PM, about 50 minutes ago,  was 33 C/91 F with a humidex of 44 C/111 F. That's pretty darn hot. My son is playing baseball tonight, but I don't think they should be playing in this kind of heat. Sometimes I sound like such a mother. Well, I guess that's because I am a mother. His game is out of town, and I won't be going, but he'd better keep hydrated.

Anyway, it's too hot to think much about hair today. I just threw my hair up in a quick updo, and haven't given it another thought until right now.

Last evening, I thought that I would check for split ends. It's always a good idea from time to time to check for them, as they should be cut out as soon as I see them.

Cutting out split ends is very important, not just for the look of  the hair, but also because splits can travel up, break off with a raggedy ends, and sometimes cause tangles that create yet more splits.

I am very fortunate in that I still have no split ends at my current length.  I was never that fortunate in the past.

While people tend to think that colouring hair is just about the worst thing one can do for one's hair, I'd have to disagree. My hair has been coloured for some 20 years, but it's only in the last couple of years that I've managed to have hair below shoulder length  that doesn't have splits.

I think that there are a few crucial reasons why I have no splits. Here they are.

1. No Heat Styling: I am convinced at this point that there is nothing more damaging to hair than blowdrying and using hot irons, as I did in the past.  I can remember finding splits in my hair when my hair was barely below chin length when I used a hot blow dryer and hot irons.

2. No Brushing or Combing When Hair is Wet: I used to comb my hair, or even brush it when it was still wet. I thought that I was being careful. Even back before I learned more about hair care, I did know about detangling hair from the bottom up. What I didn't realize is just how damaging manipulating wet hair is. Wet hair is very elastic, and if it's stretched past what it should, it will never go back to normal. Much as an elastic band wears out after repeated usage, hair will wear out and lose its elasticity as well. Wet hair is not only prone to breakage, but when brushed or combed, it can lead to split ends.

Nowadays, I let my hair air dry almost completely, at which time I very, very gently finger comb from the bottom up.

After it's completely dry, and only then, I use a wide-toothed comb to finish detangling, again working gently from the bottom up.  I do brush my hair daily , but I try to use a brush only minimally, usually after applying oil.

3. Using Conditioner: This sounds like a no-brainer, but there are people who, when in a hurry, skip the conditioner. I can't stress enough how important moisturizing you hair is to help minimize splits. Also, conditioner provides slip that helps to prevent tangles. I think we all know that tangles can lead to split ends.  Additionally, depending on your hair type, you might want to use a pea-sized drop of your favourite conditioner, rub it in your hands and apply it to the ends. I've also mentioned before that I'm a great believer in using a drop of oil on the ends to add an additional buffer. I do both.

4. Wear Protective Updos: Wearing hair up saves hair from the wear and tear of rubbing day after day against one's clothes.  Braids are also protective, but putting the braid in a bun, or folded up is better still. There are updos which leave the ends of the hair untucked. Those updos are still protective, as the ends are not being exposed to friction.  A fully tucked updo is still the most protective

5. Proper Night Time Care: I wear my hair in a scrunchie bun right on the top of my head. The scrunchies I use are made of silk satin.  I also sleep on a satin pillow case, which reduces friction.  For shorter hair, a French Braid is another good sleep option. There are also many people who wear silk sleep caps to protect their hair.  That would never work for me, as I move around too much in my sleep, but for people with very delicate hair, it's a good option.

Eventually though, everyone ends up getting splits at some length or another. When you think about how old the ends are by the time your hair hits waist length or longer, it's not surprising.

It really is important to cut out splits when you see them. Many people do a weekly session of looking for and trimming out splits.  The truly essential thing when doing this is to have a pair of very sharp hair scissors. Some  hair scissors or barber shears can be expensive, but I have found some excellent deals on eBay.

Even if you are just beginning to grow out you hair, treat it with the care you would if it's already long. That care will certainly pay off years from now.

I hope that some of these ideas are helpful.

Now I'm just looking out the window, hoping for a nice refreshing thunderstorm to come our way to clear out some of this humidity.

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you're having a good day.

Love to all.

Edited to ask: Why do parcels from Germany come to me in a week, but parcels from the U.S. take 2 weeks or longer? Ideas?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Daughter's Gone Home

Well, today is for me the day that everyone who has a child who lives far away never looks forward to.  It's the day that my daughter, who is 21, by the way, finished her visit with us and is en route to her home 500km/300 miles away. She was here for 13 days, but the the time just whizzed by.

It was a really nice visit, and she spent a lot of time with us, but also got out and went to some fun places and visited friends. Somehow though, no matter how long she visits, when she leaves, I always think about the things we didn't get around to doing. I guess that's inevitable, but it feels so bittersweet.

I am proud of her living on her own, supporting herself and working on her career, and I'm fine with the fact that she lives a few hours away, but at the same time, the house here feels so different the moment she leaves it.

My son is 19 and still lives with us, and I wonder how long he'll remain here. One never knows. I just know that I do my best to enjoy every moment.

It still feels like a blast furnace outdoors today, but the humidity is not as bad, so it's more comfortable, and I don't feel crabby the way I did yesterday. I'm just a bit blue with my daughter leaving, but that's natural, I think. In a few days life will seem normal with her away again.

I'll be home alone this evening, so I'm going to figure out now how I'm going to spend it.

Love to all, and be well.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sometimes I Scare Myself

Wow, it's really hot and humid here today.  The temperature as I write this in late afternoon is 91F/32C but it feels like 107F/41C with the humidity.  It's soooo not my kind of weather. Of course, thunderstorms are in the forecast, but I doubt that it will wash the humidity away.  We're looking at hot temperatures for the rest of the week as well. There is a smog advisory in effect here too as often happens when the humidity and heat are so high.

I have to admit that this kind of weather makes me a bit cranky. If conserving electricity were not so important for both the environment and the pocketbook, I would keep the house cooler, but I can't do that in all good conscience. So it's hotter and more humid in the house than I would like, and my mood is not wonderful.

Now I'm going to sound like a broken record, but if I don't get these thoughts on the page, they will be trapped in my mind, and right now, that would not be a good thing. I guess what I'm about to write is one of the reasons that I call this hair journey of mine a bumpy one. The road never seems to be smooth for terribly long.

Once again, I find that my mood leads me to strange thoughts about my hair. Dissatisfaction kicks in again, and perfectionism rears its ugly head once more. I have a compelling desire to start all over again, to get rid of the damage that I caused two years ago, and to get rid of the breakage that has now grown to just below the nape of my neck.

Of course these are just thoughts.  However, they keep coming back over and over today.  I have promised that I will not cut my hair without mentioning it here, invoking the 2-week rule, and allowing you, my friends, to remind me that it would not be a good choice.  I have no intention of breaking that promise, and I'm not even close to invoking the 2-week rule.

Yet, I keep imagining just how nice it would be to start afresh.

Realistically I know that I would not be happy starting my long hair journey for a 4th time in as many years, and it would be just another act of sabotage. Having an ear-length bob is not where I want to be. I am now getting so close to being able to do more styles with my hair in the coming months.

However, it gets a little scary when I realize that if I were not holding myself accountable not only to me, but to all of you, I could undo years' worth of growth in a matter of mere seconds.  And I wouldn't be able to take it back.  There are no take-backs when hair is cut.

So, while I have had these thoughts today, I will not do any cutting or even trimming until my next scheduled 1/2 inch trim in September or October.  I will do something nice for me and my hair today, and tomorrow, I'm sure that I will be feeling back to normal once again.

I just wonder if and when I'll ever come to a point when I don't have these evil hair days.  I really hope so.  It's not very pleasant.  Was I always like this?  Is it something to do with being menopausal?  Does anyone else go through this?  Am I really this neurotic? I just don't know. Perhaps I'll figure it all out one day. I'm just not there yet.

Love to all.  'Til tomorrow.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Seeing My Hair The Way It Really Is

If there's one thing I've learned during my long hair journey, it's that I often don't see my hair the way others see it. Sometimes my hair gets longer and I reach new goals, but for some reason it just doesn't feel long. 

I know I'm not alone. I read posts by people all the time at The Long Hair Community, who have achieved even extreme lengths, and they don't feel that their hair is actually very long. To the rest of us, it really does look lengthy, but to that person, it just doesn't. Those same people will look at photos of others with the same or even shorter length, and think that the other person's hair looks longer than their own.

When my hair was closing in on waist length a couple of years ago, I really didn't have the sense of having very long hair. It's only in retrospect that I look at old photos from that time and I think to myself, "wow, my hair was really long then!"

I don't really know why this phenomenon occurs, but it does. It takes the edge off of reaching certain goals. Perhaps it's that the length sneaks up so very slowly. Perhaps it's just that we never do see ourselves the way others do. I think many of us are more critical of themselves than others are.  I know I am.

Right now, I do have long hair, in real world standards.  In Long Hair Community standards, it's really not very long.

I think I really need to learn to observe my hair in photos as though I were looking at someone else's hair.  I think that might be the only way to see my hair the way it really is.

Feeling that my hair is "less than" is really quite destructive thinking, and could really lead to giving in to a chop out of frustration.

Don't worry, I have no plans to chop, it's just that I recognize now when I have a false sense of the length of my hair. I need to learn how to detach and be able to see it as it is.  I don't want to reach BSL in a few months and still feel that my hair is too short.  I don't want to reach waist length next year and yet still feel that my hair is too short.

So that's the latest thing that I realize I need to work on in this journey. I need to learn to be as kind to myself as I am to others. This is a hard lesson for me, but I really want to get there. It will certainly make reaching goals much more rewarding.

I want to wish all of my American friends a very Happy Independence Day. I know how good it feels to be able to collectively celebrate the love of one's country. I hope you're all enjoying the day, and all that it means.

'Til tomorrow.

Love to all.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Embellish Your Updo: Accent Braids

Sometimes when you have long hair, and like to wear it up to protect it, to keep cool, or for style, certain updos can seem to look too severe from the front.

An easy way to soften your look is to embellish your updo around the hairline near the face. There are a few different methods that I use, but I'm going to start with a very simple one. In these photos, I am wearing accent braids.

I took a small section of hair from right beside my face and I made a small braid on each side. I then incorporated them into the cinnamon bun hairstyle (instructions for the cinnamon bun in this video). The accent braids add a little bit of interest to a very simple style, and they also create a pleasing lift beside the face.  Occasionally we like to have the tight-bunned mean lady look, but sometimes it's nice to look a little softer. Sometimes I use one accent braid on each side, and other times I may use 2 or more.  Sometimes I like a thicker braid, and other times just a thin one as pictured. As always, the photos may be clicked to see the full-size version.

I hope that all of my American friends are having a great 4th of July weekend, and for everyone else, I wish you a happy weekend too.

Love to all.  'Til tomorrow.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thank You, Readers, and Sun Protection

I was looking at some statistics from my hairstyle website, which I've had for about 2 years, and I was amazed that my little site has been viewed by thousands of visitors from 119 different countries all over the world. I was also pleased to notice that I continue to see new regular readers here on this blog. 

I really do appreciate all of you who read, and I want to also thank those of you who take the time to leave comments. It's always nice to know for sure that there is someone out there who reads what I write. AutumnLeaves and SchnauzerMom; you ladies are so kind and rarely if ever fail to leave a comment. I can't tell you how nice that is. I would never be able to think up a comment to write for every blog entry I read, but you gals do, and you are sharing a real gift.

I myself am not the best at commenting on blog posts nor at replying to comments, although I do read them all, and they mean a lot. I just find that often the comments speak for themselves, and I am at a loss as to how to comment in response. I hope everyone knows that every comment is read and appreciated.

Rarely do I write comments on the blogs that I read, often because I'll have read a previous comment that says so much more articulately than I what I feel after reading an entry. I do keep up on the blogs to which I am subscribed, although on occasion, I may read a weeks' worth of a given blog's entries at a single sitting.

Yesterday was a lovely Canada Day, and the weather was perfect. We had a lovely week, sunny, but not too hot, with light breezes.  Today is much hotter and more humid once again, but the sun is still shining in a largely cloudless blue sky.

Now that the sun is so direct, it's a good time for a reminder to protect our hair from the sun. The sun really can cause damage to hair. Obviously protective updos are helpful, but if you're outdoors for a long period of time, the sun will weaken your hair, so do keep your head covered during the peak sun hours if at all possible.  Try a pretty scarf, a buff, a head wrap, a sun hat, even a baseball cap--whatever it takes to protect your hair and scalp from sun damage is really important.

Myself, I wear a sun hat that I've had for years. I picked it up at KMart. We haven't had KMart stores in Canada for years, so I know that hat is old, but it's very comfy and it does the trick.

Here's a secret. You can pick up a nice sun hat in the men's department of a store for much less money than you'd pay in a woman's department.  My hat was purchased in the men's department, but I think it's quite feminine, at least when a woman wears it.

In this photo, that was taken in the Spring, I'm wearing my hair down. The sun was bright but not too intense that day. At this time of year, low updos worn at the nape of the neck are really ideal for wearing with hats.

I hope that everyone enjoys the weekend, that you have lovely weather, and don't forget to protect your locks from the sun.

Love to all.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July Progress Photo

Well, today is Progress Photo Day.  My progress is not as stunning as it was from February to May, as I cut almost two inches off part of my hair earlier this month, in order to be rid of my deep "v". However, only the very middle of the back lost length. The sides have indeed grown and I am pleased with the progress. I am about 2 inches away from BSL right now, and I won't be having any more large trims in the next year or two.  

I just needed to start to straighten out my hemline, as the deep V was unwieldy, and I prefer a slight U-shape to a deep V.

Since my big trim in early June, my hair has grown 5/8 inches. I'm pretty happy with my length, and I'm really looking forward to the next few months when my hair will really begin to look long.

Here is the photographic evidence. Unfortunately you can see that the light conditions are different. I wish I could always reproduce the same lighting, but it's just not possible.

To AutumnLeaves, it is not your imagination. My hair really is thicker than it used to be. In fact it's much thicker than it was before I cut my bangs, and bangs do take away from nape thickness. I attribute this to less breakage due using coconut oil on my hair before I touch up my roots. I don't have scientific proof, but the hair that's grown since I've started using coconut oil is much thicker. For me, that's proof enough.

To ShamRock, I wish you a happy Canada Day too, and thank you SchnauzerMom and Hairstorm for your good wishes on the day.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Love to all.